By Dr. Arome Okeme
It was about 10.20pm when they came in. The mother was looking distraught and shaken, while the father, a young man in probably his mid 20s, concealed his emotions, although beneath the veneer of his calmness, I could sense he was frightened. He held the little raggedy looking child in his arms passionately. The two were a beauty to behold. This was their only child and judging from their countenance, they were terrified of the possibility of losing her.
I was wasted, exhausted, drained, famished and fagged out. All I wanted was a shower, something to eat and the warmth of my bed. I had just finished a long stretch of resuscitating the head-injured young man from a road accident.
The child had had a fever 5 days ago and they decided to manage her themselves locally. Well, that didn't work out as her condition got worse that she convulsed severally(the locals call it "chiwon sunsu", loosely interpreted as bird's illness). They smoked her in the steam of some local herbs and tried forcing some of the extract from the herbs into her mouth. ( God has a way of saving little helpless children). Fortunately, they didn't succeed.
Sensing all their efforts proved abortive, they rushed her to some chemist where quacks operated. After experimenting on their lab rat, she grew even worse. Then came a good Samaritan that directed them to the only hospital with medical doctors and nurses in some rural area quite a distance from where they lived, and without hesitation they hopped on to a bike and headed here.
They bumped into me just as I was about leaving the hospital. I literally almost cried when I saw them because I knew it would be a while before I got the rest I badly yearned for.
The child was breathing noisily, her eyeballs were rolled to one corner of her eyes, limbs were stiff and body hot! Luckily, my colleague was around and we got to work.
I was lucky to have accessed her vein quite easily. I took some blood samples, aborted the seizures, calmed the temperature spike and hit the lab for some quick tests.
After about an hour, the child was on some iv meds and lying dazed with relaxants. 12hrs later she was better, and breathing normally. The next day, she was struggling, had removed her iv access and screaming to be discharged home.
You know the thing about kids and God's wonderful love for them? It is simply incredibly inexplicable how he watches and cares for them. The parents stood marveled at her improvement, so much so that, the father approached me to inquire about the probability of being discharged today. I told him we would need to keep her until we were sure that she had fully recovered. And he agreed.
God loves little children and we must ensure we do our utmost best to show them this in our little ways.
Dr. Okeme is the head doctor at our Arthur and Esther Bradley Memorial Anglican Hospital in Gidan Waya. Before coming here, he served as the assistant doctor at Kateri Medical Clinic for five years.
This little girl is one of the more than 20,000 patients our clinics serve every year. Without our rural clinics, many of these children die very young. Your contributions help us to serve even more.